What Agents Can Learn from The 4 Levels of Learning

And welcome to Mike Ferry TV. It is the week of June 22nd, 2020. Interesting, you know, I’ve been very lucky in my life to have a lot of people train me … teach me … mentor me … today we call it “coaching” … on how to run my business, how to do business, how to get up and speak, etc. I’ve mentioned their names to you many, many times. Obviously, Earl Nightingale was an important influence on my life. Mike Vance, who I met through Earl Nightingale … very important influence in my life. Dr.  Gunther Klaus, who I met through Mike Vance … very important influence in my life. And then Larry Wilson, who I met through Mike Vance and Gunther … very important influence in my life.

And I learned something a little different from each of these people. They were always very kind to share with me thoughts and ideas to operate and run a business … how to get up and do a speech or a seminar, etc. … and, of course, a couple weeks ago, I shared with you the four different personality styles that most of us recognize were really created by Larry Wilson from the Wilson Learning Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota back in the ’60s. And, of course, that was very important information for all of us to use and learn in dealing with the public every day to the level that we do. He’s also the guy that taught us the idea of versatility.

I had somebody recently say to me … “What is the most important thing … if you can identify one thing that each of these four people shared with you, taught you, helped you with?” Well, with Earl Nightingale … the most important thing was to learn the importance of personal motivation and the importance of attitude in relationship to personal motivation. I mean, Earl spent his whole life studying human behavior and was probably one of the leading experts in the world up to the time he passed away in the late ’80s on human behavior.

He introduced me to Mike Vance and Mike came out of the Disney Corporation … was President and helped Walt found the Disney University … was President of it for many years … and what Mike taught me was the importance of creativity. To be able to think outside the box. And creativity was defined as either finding a new way of doing something or taking what you’ve already done and mixing it up and trying it in a new way. So, either doing something new or rearranging what you’ve already done.

He introduced me to Dr. Gunther Klaus and Dr. Gunther Klaus, Hamburg, Germany, great world-renowned management speaker … also a university professor at U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles … and Gunther taught me a very important thought. He called it the “180-degree theory.” Find out where everybody’s going and if you want to succeed, go in the opposite direction automatically. You’ll have very little competition, you’ll have a lot of people criticize you, condemn you and complain about you, which is the approach I took when I started doing Real Estate training 45 years ago because I looked at the training being done and it was important and it was good, but it was very soft. There was no aggressiveness to the training, in my opinion.

You know, drop off pumpkins in a neighborhood in your geographic farm and hold open house and give them a gift when they come in and leave and I thought … wait a minute, there’s got to be a better way to do this, so I started talking about things like … managing your time and putting things in blocks of time so you can be more successful … or something as simple as prospecting outside of the comfort of passing out pumpkins, etc. Well, of course, as most of you know, all of that was considered very controversial and still is controversial today, but anytime you’re not going with the crowd you’re going to be considered controversial.

Larry Wilson, of course, I learned the four personality styles, which I have said for many, many years, studying that material, which all of you can do … you can go online and you can find books on the four personality styles and it’s virtually worth every minute that you spend studying it because it helps you understand your Buyers and Sellers so much better … and the people that you’re working with.

So I’ve learned a lot from all of them, but Dr. Gunther Klaus and Mike Vance taught me a very important little subject, which I want to share with you today … and I’ve been talking about this subject right here virtually for 45 years. I don’t talk about it a lot because most people don’t want to buy into this concept. What they talked about was called the four levels of learning … four levels of learning … and what they taught me was this … when a person starts … well let’s take a Real Estate Agent … and I get these requests all the time … I get people sending me an email saying, “I’m a brand-new licensee, you’re supposed to be an expert.”

I say, “Thank you for that.”

“Tell me what I should be doing to start to get my career off and running fast.”

Well, I don’t ever go through this with them, but when they are starting brand new, they are what we refer to as unconsciously incompetent. Mike Vance said that a lot of people are unconsciously incompetent … and he would use this example, which is a little harsh, but I understand the example … they aren’t very smart, and they don’t know it. Alright … a brand-new licensee says, “How do I take a listing?”

I say, “Well, learn a listing presentation.”

“I don’t know what a listing presentation is.”

They’re not very smart. They don’t know it. Alright, you’re sitting in front of a Seller and they say, “Well we want to go ahead with you and list our property, but you’ve never filled out a listing contract.” You’re not very smart and you don’t know it. And he said most people in business, when they first begin, when you’re going to high school and college and you’re learning a new profession, you’re not very smart and you don’t know it, but you’re not going to stay there because that’s just one phase of the four levels of learning. And then what he talked about was the fact that once you have mastered and said, “Okay. I don’t know how to list property. I don’t know how to prospect. I don’t know how to manage my time. Okay. I’m going to learn how to do that, which of course all of us do all the time.”

He said you move, then, from unconscious to what he called conscious incompetence. This is a fun area. I said to Mike Vance, “What does that mean? Conscious incompetence?”

He said, “Well, here, you’re not very smart and you don’t know it, but now you’ve gone out on the street, you’ve tried to list property, you’ve tried to prospect, you’ve tried to manage your time, you can’t figure out, so now you’ve figured out you’re not very smart, but you’re still not very smart. You’re still incompetent at the, say, skill of prospecting or the skill of handling objections. So, here, you don’t know that you’re not smart … here you know you’re smart because somebody probably told you. You can’t manage your time starting at noon each day because if you start at noon each day, you’re going to be beaten by all the people that started at 7:30 … 8:00. You can’t list property by agreeing with everything that a Seller says because if you do, you’re going to take overpriced listings at low commissions. Makes no sense.

So now you start to know that you’re not very competent, but you’re making steps forward. So, this could be a brand-new licensee … this could be that licensee 3 or 6 months later that is learning the process. But, then, they said once you know that you don’t know, you can move up to a very important level and that is called conscious competence. Conscious competence is where you know that you know. In Real Estate, this is where ego many times comes into play. You know, I saw a report recently and it said that in the country of Australia, and it might have been New Zealand, but I thought it was Australia, that there’s 64,000 Real Estate professionals in the country of Australia. And then it said there’s actually 65,000 Real Estate coaches in the country of Australia. There’s more coaches than there are agents, which means that almost every agent is a coach because here in North America, as you know, everybody that you go on LinkedIn or Facebook and you look at these social media sites and it’ll say, “Real Estate Agent … best-selling author … coach … mentor,” and I’m going, “Wait a minute. You’re only selling 8 homes a year and you’re a Real Estate expert and you’re a best-selling author? I don’t get it.”

Well, that’s ego. You know that you know. Now, the question is … when you get to this level of conscious competence, are you applying what you know to your business every day? Okay. Let’s take this example … you know how to manage your time, correct? You know how to prospect, right? You know that you have to prospect, and you should prospect. You know how to follow up on your leads. I talked to a great agent last week that admitted to me that his biggest challenge still is lead follow-up because his fear is that if I call and they really don’t want to buy or sell, then I don’t have a lead, then I have to do more prospecting to replace the lead, so rather than call and find out I don’t have a lead so I don’t have to prospect, I don’t call the lead. He knows what he knows, but it’s a dangerous area because it’s not knowing that you know … it’s applying to your business what you know.

You know how to handle an objection? You got to get into a position with a Buyer or a Seller to use that knowledge you have. But then he talked about the fact that once you know that you know, you move to the most important level of learning, which he calls unconscious competence. I asked Dr. Klaus, “What do you mean? Unconscious competence?”  That’s when you have figured out what you know, but you don’t have to think about it to go out and execute. These are the highly trained professional Real Estate people that operate all around us today. There’s some around you, some around me … some of our customers are this way. Unconscious competence … they don’t have to even get up in morning and say, “I guess I better prospect.” They get in the office, put their headset on, they do their role-play and practice, they get their scripts out, they turn their computer on, they find the leads they want to call and they start talking. Unconsciously competence … they do, but they do so well they don’t have to think about it.

So I’m sitting at lunch one day in Los Angeles with Dr. Klaus and with Mike Vance and they were, again, taking me through all this because I was trying to understand it … because I was trying to figure out … as a speaker … as a coach … I got to figure out how to take and move people up this list. So, I said, “What do I do when I get a client that is unconsciously competent? Because a lot of our clients that you have seen at our events are the best of the best.” I said, “How do I help them keep growing?” Now, listen to what the answer was … you take this person and you teach them something they know nothing about, so they become unconsciously incompetent once again.

So, let me ask you a question … which parts of the Real Estate transaction do you really have figured out? And is there anything you could learn to make yourself move back down and start the learning process over again? Because, see, as often as you get to the top and you find out something you know nothing about, you start the learning curve all over again, which means you’re expanding the base of knowledge. As I said, I’ve always been lucky because with Earl Nightingale … I still listen to his recordings today and still learn a lot … Mike Vance’s recordings and books are unbelievable … Dr. Gunther Klaus … it’s hard to find any of his materials because he died unexpectedly just as a lot of stuff was going to be produced because he was more of a seminar speaker … and Larry Wilson produced a number of great books on this whole concept of the four personality styles.

So, between these four people, every time I thought I started to know something … bang … they hit me with something I know about and I have to start over again, so I got to spend most of the last 45 years learning how to do the job I’m trying to do with you right now … help you learn the four levels of learning because once you learn them, guess what? Your life is so much better. So, if I was you … I would probably take this message and listen to it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before we have our next message for you next week … and then if you really want to learn it, I would listen to it every morning and every evening. It’s only 13-and-a-half minutes … it may be a good investment of your time.

See you next week. Thank you.

Mike Ferry is the global leader in real estate coaching and training. Watch Mike each week as he discusses a variety of topics to help real estate agents and brokers. Grow your real estate business by improving your mindset, developing your skills and creating a plan of action to increase your production!